By Garrett Cecere and Emmy Liederman
Editor-in-Chief and Staff Writer
Arkeyia Beal, a Sodexo employee who had worked at the College since 2015, was shot and killed on June 9 near Southard and Calhoun Streets in Trenton.
Shortly after 4:30 a.m. that morning, officers found the 36-year-old in a vehicle that was hit by several bullets. The Trentonian reported that police performed CPR on Beal before paramedics took her to Capital Health Regional Medical Center. She was pronounced dead at the hospital.
According to Trenton Police Capt. Stephen Varn, no one has been charged in the homicide, which the Mercer County Homicide Task Force is currently investigating.
Associate Vice President for Communications, Marketing and Brand Management Dave Muha sent out a campus-wide email on June 15 notifying the College community of Beal’s death.
On social media, there has been an outpouring of support for Beal’s friends and family. Her son, Zaire, is graduating from Trenton Central High School this month. His mother was shot and killed on the morning of his senior prom.
“(My mother is) my best friend, my heart, she’s my everything,” he said.
A GoFundMe was created on June 10 as a college fund for Zaire, who has plans to study sports management at The College of Saint Elizabeth in the fall.
Zaire will be the first in his family to go to college. He told The Signal that his mother always kept him on track to pursue higher education by “keeping (him) off the streets.”
Zaire has fond memories of his mother attending his basketball games. When asked to describe what they liked to do together, he quickly responded, “everything.”
Beal’s death marks the second passing of a Sodexo employee during the current academic year, as former Eickhoff Hall cashier Eve Cruz died in December.
Trenton City Councilman-at-Large Jerell Blakeley expressed his condolences to Beal’s family via Facebook on the day she died.
“Somebody knows who did it and somebody needs to say something,” he wrote. “Killing an innocent mother is completely beyond the pale and another indictment of the cohort of murderers in this city who must be stopped.”
In 2018, the Trenton Police Department responded to 11 murders, according to New Jersey State Police statistics, which is a 45% decrease from 2017. Although the numbers may be dropping, Blakeley commented that in order to keep every citizen of Trenton safe, the city must also focus on becoming “an opportunity hub for its young people.”
“We can’t solve violence in Trenton with just law enforcement strategies,” he said. “The city must provide compelling alternatives for young people in our city, particularly in the arenas of workforce development opportunities, higher education preparation and expanded recreational opportunities.”
According to Muha’s email, funeral services will be held at Calhoun Street Shiloh Baptist Church on Wednesday, June 19 and visitation will be held between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. before services begin. The College will then hold a repast in the Decker Social Space at 11 a.m.